Khadi is a catchall term for all hand spun and hand woven clothes – the fabric can be made of cotton, silk, wool or other fibres. Khadi embodies the ancient Indian culture – beginning with the Mohenjo-Daro civilisation around 1500 BC (see image on this page).
Indian fabrics have been famous throughout the world since ancient times. They included a wide range of weaves, texture and thickness – from coarse cloth to the highly refined fabric made in Dhaka and Banaras (see image of Gandhara Buddha wearing a diaphanous robe in the About Us page).
This tradition of handmade cloth was being lost to machine made fabric in the nineteenth century.It was revived by Gandhi in the early twentieth century, when he made it a symbol for India’s non-violent movement for Independence. It also became an effective vehicle for people’s empowerment and a symbol of decentralised economy and political systems.
The textile is very versatile. It can be used for a variety of products. Apart from traditional usage like clothing and bed linen, khadi lends itself to modern lifestyle usage. It makes attractive lampshades, cushion covers, patchwork quilts, activity bags, aprons and tea towels. It can be appliqued on cloth to make good wall hangings.
It is only in India that hand spun and hand woven cotton cloth is made in large quantities and provides sustenance to over a million people. They are mainly women from some of the poorest communities in India. We would like to support this activity as an ethical and green alternative to mill made cloth.